I suppose it would be silly to deny that the Wii hasn’t had quite the same level of adult orientated games as the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. I do think however that the criticism of excessive shovelware has been put onto Wii unfairly. I remember a time when people criticized the Nintendo 64 and GameCube for lack of third party support but now its here on Wii they don’t like it. Could this be because most third party games aren’t first person shooters set on a space station? Personally I don’t think it would matter if GTA5 was a Wii exclusive; the critics would still label the Wii as a kiddie console because of titles such as Wii Sports included in the box along with the Wii’s lower graphical abilities. Regardless, when push comes to shove the Wii has just as many triple A titles as the other systems but just so happens to have twice as many shovelware titles too.
Madworld from Platinum Games and Sega attempts to push the Wii further towards the core gamer with ultra violence and, unlike Rockstar’s ill fated Manhunt 2, manages to scrape through the censors uncut in all its gory glory. It’s time for a Madworld review I think.
In Madworld you take the role of a butch undercover agent called Jack Cayman, and your mission is to infiltrate the DeathWatch TV show in Varrigan City in an attempt to find the mayor’s daughter. Varrigan City’s inhabitants have been infected with a virus that will kill its victims within 24 Hours, and it just so happens that the ‘terrorists’ who have arranged all of this have also blocked the escape routes. The only way to survive is to kill another person then be rewarded with a vaccine…all in the name of entertainment eh?
Fast forward some time, and now Varrigan City is nearly void of anyone bar the crazy mad leftovers living in slums who wander the streets fighting each other to the death. To spice things up a bit the DeathWatch championship has been created and this is where the real action of the TV show happens. Challengers (Jack in our case) can attempt to climb the DW ranking list to become the overall champion. Along the way they’ll pick up a sponsor who will guide them through as far as they can, gaining profit off the challenger’s murderous back. Jack enters the show without notice and soon becomes a hit with the fans and gains sponsorship from a mysterious character named Agent XIII (thirteen), from here on things are fairly simple. It’s kill or be killed.
The first thing you’ll probably notice when you boot the game is that Madworld is black and white; well that is until you start chopping people around with your chainsaw and see gallons of red blood flying everywhere. Gameplay is actually quite straightforward in the scheme of things. You move Jack around with your Nunchuck stick and wave the Wii Remote in various directions whilst pressing the A, B or C buttons to perform different attacks.
To start with you’ll be walking around learning how to dispatch the rest of the lowlife wandering the streets; be it punching them to the ground and then finishing them off or slicing and dicing them with your strapped on chainsaw (yes think Evil Dead). That is just the basics though – why not pull up lampposts from the ground and poke them through someone’s head? Or pick up a person and plant them on a spike sticking out of the ground? Pretty much every nasty over the top grizzly way of tearing someone apart is included here, most of them will make you laugh and others will cause you to cringe.
Your first goal of every area/level is to kill enough bad guys in the goriest ways you can; thus building up a high enough score to unlock the BloodBath Challenge. Here on BloodBath challenge an interesting character called the Black Baron introduces you to a special event where usually a contraption capable of massive gore appears. My favourites include a giant robotic hand that will pick up then flatten any baddies you throw its way, and a spike trap which squishes as many bad guys as you can throw underneath before it hits the ground. After you’ve had fun there, you’re sent back to go and rack up more kill points until you have enough to unlock the boss battle.
Before we get to that though, let’s not forget the special items so thoughtfully supplied by the organizers to help you out on your way. There is a suitcase full of cash, which when broken will draw the bad guys together so you can easily slay them in one go. There is also a pile of raw meat which will do the same for any zombies you encounter. As your high score increases, special containers holding better weapons and even extra lives are unlocked for you to pick up. Generally these bonus weapons will replace your chainsaw temporarily…or until you choose to drop it…or happen to find another one – they’re not necessarily more powerful than your chainsaw but could be better for certain scenarios, such as mêlée combat or longer range.
So, back to the boss battles. Yes, as you would hope – the bosses are pretty tough and quite deadly. Unfortunately, fighting them isn’t quite as much fun as it should be. Sure, the bosses themselves are a spectacle, and the arena you have to fight them in is usually dangerous – adding to the difficulty – but it’s the battles themselves that are screwy. Instead of fighting them until their body parts are separated from their head, you only have to fight them manually up until their health is around half way down…then you end up doing a quick time event to finish them off.
From here on MadWorld continues in a similar fashion all the way through: start a new area of the city, clear all the punks out and then kill the boss. Sometimes you’ll be presented with a bonus level such as the motorcycle killing fest, where you get to relive some retro Road Rash action, knocking people off their vehicles as you drive along (ah those were the days). So it’s not the variation (or lack of) in Madworld that is appealing. Firstly, the game is very humorous – both visually (when you mutilate people) and also in the revealing cut scenes which do have a ring of ‘real life’ about them – you’re subtly reminded of shows like Big Brother, and American torture haven’s like Guantanamo Bay.
For me the clever story and great voice acting really does boost what could’ve been a dull repetitive game. If you’ve played (and liked) No More Heroes, or enjoyed the movie Kill Bill, then you will be in for a treat here. All three have a similar story arc, along with tremendously over the top fight scenes. Throw in a fun two player mode, in which you can both take part in the joy of Man Darts (and other top notch killing fun) and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent game.
The black and white graphics are a bit hard to see sometimes unless you’re running in 480i mode, but when you do look you’ll actually notice that the environments are more detailed and varied than you’d think. The different areas of Varrigan city are all quite individual and, pleasingly, aren’t one of the games repetitive features. Even with groups of baddies, and the occasional giant rampaging genetically modified Bull on screen, everything still flows quite nicely, and slowdown is kept to a minimum.
The camera can be a bit funky at times but a press of the Z button usually corrects it – considering how much can be going on, and how narrow some of the environments are, it’s not too bad. Madworld is a totally over the top gore fest, not suitable for children, and probably not suitable for most adults in a sane world…but as we’re not in a sane world, what can you do about it?
I’m hesitant to call Madworld a mature game ( like GTA4 ) because it feels very much like a Mortal Kombat beat ‘em up, but with less fireballs and more fatalities. I’d actually compare MadWorld to classic comic books from Marvel (but with blood), and I could certainly see a spin off comic series being created. Madworld for Wii pummels a bloody 8 out of 10 from me, and I recommend it to anyone old and immature enough to enjoy it.
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